Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks played a close game all night, but the Mavs scored late to hold on for the win.
The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points, 10 rebounds in his homecoming), Damian Lillard (19 points, 6 assists, but struggled after the first quarter), Wesley Matthews (21 points) and JJ Hickson (14 points, 10 rebounds).
First Quarter: Pure Blazer fun. Portland came out hungry in the first quarter, keeping Dallas at bay with some solid defense, and using their advantages (such as some hot three point shooting) to take the lead at the other end. Just as the Blazers looked like they might slow down, Damian kicked it into gear. He torched the Mavs for 12 first quarter points, sparking the Blazers to a 6 point lead after one.
League Pass showing the Hawks game instead? Anyone else getting this?
by skott75 [Yes, everyone. Come on League Pass, show the correct game.]
Second Quarter: The Blazers poured it on, jumping out to a 12 point lead as the bench arrived. All was well in Blazerland. But after a Mavs timeout, they woke up, scoring 12 straight points to tie the game. No problem, except the Blazer starters returned and immediately responded, jumping out to an 8 point lead again. That held until the final seconds, when a few bad possessions led to some easy points for the Mavs. The Blazers led by 4 at halftime.
What a blessing Lillard is... The fact that we have the starting PG slot filled for years to come and we can spend our money and draft picks on depth really is encouraging for the rebuild.
Third Quarter: Dallas took the lead in less than a minute. From there, it was your classic "fringe playoff teams play back and forth" game. Literally, for the entire quarter. But as the clock ticked under two minutes, Aldridge came alive. Combined with some solid play from Lillard and Victor Claver, the Blazers scored 10 straight points to take an 8 point lead. But Jae Crowder and Vince Carter made a late run to cut the lead to 2 by the horn.
The only good close game is an away game.
Fourth Quarter: More of the same from the third quarter. Both teams played to a standstill, even as the Blazer bench ate up some minutes. However, the Blazers gave away a rebound, leading to a Carter three-pointer for a four point Mavs lead. A Shawn Marion three-pointer made it five, then a jumper made it 7. Dallas started to run away with it, and the Blazer starters quickly returned. Dallas tried to put the game away with 4 minutes left... but here come the Blazers. By the 1:30 mark, they'd closed to within 3 on Lillard free throws. But Vince Carter nailed a 20-footer with 26 seconds left, giving the Mavericks a 5 point margin, enough to hold on for the win.
Stay tuned for more analysis from Blazer’s Edge later tonight. In the meantime, check out the upcoming Blazers schedule. -- Tim